Today’s cat-in-a-cave comes from Sok Hwee Tay. Meet “Snowy” from Augusta, GA! Thanks Sok!

“Snowy” from Augusta, GA

For the past two weeks, I’ve been drumming up patriotism with my older adult clients. It’s really, truly one of my favorite times of year for work. Here’s why I love working with older adults. The WWII generation is incredibly patriotic.

Drumming seniors

Photo courtesy of Get Drumified Program

These 3 experiences seem to especially touch my clients, set the stage for reminiscence, provide opportunities for group socialization and bonding, enhance quality of life, and reduce agitation:

  1. Use Over There as a drumming call-and-response.The facilitator sings three, the group plays three, back and forth. You can warm up the group first by doing simple call-and-response drum hits. For instance, BOOM BOOM cha cha cha (group repeats), BOOM bah DOOM bah (group repeats), BOOM bah da da da BOOM (group repeats), [rest, 2, 3] O-VER THERE (group repeats).

    Do you feel the anticipation right before singing Over There? It serves as a surprise AND huge musical gratification for the song entrance.

  2. Talk about the flag. I give the BIG drum to ONE person at a time. I ask for anyone who was in the service to supply us with the drum beat.I pass around red, white, and blue scarves. Then I start a conversation in rhythm while waving the “flags” around: “What do they call the flag?” Old Glory! Stars and Stripes! Red, White, and Blue! Then I say, let’s hear it for the US flag: “You’re a grand ol’ flag, you’re a high-flying flag…”

    We pass around the ONE big drum to those who served in the military, and sing each military hymn according to the player.
  3. Use Glory Glory Hallelujah for reflective drumming.I use this for Memorial Day, too. First I mention the gratitude I feel for those who have served to protect our freedom. Then I ask a question: “Would anyone like to mention a loved one who has served to protect our freedom?” We go around the circle, and dedicate Glory Glory to those loved ones.

    It’s a wonderful drumming song because it’s solid, slow, and stately. You can end with humming or continue drumming until the group lets the rhythm fade away naturally.

Do you use anything special for the 4th of July with your clients?

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